Sunday, November 18, 2012

Buying Local - A trip to the farmers markets

A day well spent - locally grown SC produce and products

The past several weeks of work have been unbelievably busy.  A client visit, audits, a job fair, catering for the client visit, our annual fund raiser wrap up, the company picnic - all in addition to my regular work load.  It's left me with less coherent thoughts than I'd like at the end of any given day, and many attempts at blog posts lately seem more like sleep deprived ramblings.  This weekend was the first weekend I had 2 days off in a row in what feels like forever.  

Much as the bed called to me sweetly and sang siren songs of snug little naps, Bear and I headed out to the farmer's market in Florence, SC.  Sweet potatoes are in season and there's nothing better than fresh sweet potatoes straight from the local farms...blame it on those adorable baskets they come in, but one basket sitting by its lonesome just seemed sad so we got two.  Which equals 20 very generous pounds of sweet potatoes - one guess as to what I'm canning as I type.  The Collard Greens looked glorious, big, leafy, just the right shade of green and we'd just gone through our first frost (which improves their taste, oddly enough) so I grabbed a bunch of those for Thanksgiving dinner.  Then the apples beckoned with their shiny colorful skins and you can't say no to fresh apples that look so beautiful.  Especially not when Bear and my Mama have both requested my Caramel Apple Pie for dessert.  They deserve farm fresh, just picked apples for their pie so that's what they got.  Pounds and pounds of them.  About 7 apples will end up in the actual pie, the rest will be turned into pie filling, canned, and stashed away in our food storage along with the many, many jars of sweet potatoes.  Currently we have 20 pint jars and 7 quart jars and there's still many more waiting to be canned.  I think I may have a produce problem.  Is there a support group for that?  How do you tell when someone is produce drunk and needs to be cut off?  We also ended up with a lovely ornamental cabbage plant with stunning shades of purple in it for only $2.00.  In hindsight, we should have gotten several more. 

After the farmers market we headed south and stopped off at Abbott Farms where they have some of the absolute best fruit ciders anywhere in the history of mankind.  The white peach cider is to die for, the blueberry is delightful, and then there's the apple pie cider.  We haven't tried it yet, but we needed it in our lives.  I also needed a small bottle of the strawberry cider because...well, just because.  In addition to their ciders, they carry homemade ice creams, sodas, breads, preserves, canned produce, sauces, salsas, handmade soaps - it's like one stop shopping for every foodie on your holiday gift list.  Plus, they have samples that change daily, so we got to sample two new ciders, blueberry preserves, peach salsa and I forget what else, but it was all really, really good. The peach soap they make smells just like a ripe peach and looked too pretty to leave sitting by the register so we got a bar of that too.  Looking back, it might not have been such a bad idea to get a few more bars...   

After loading our box of goodies from Abbott Farms we admired our haul nestled happily in the back of the SUV.  We rode contentedly back towards home, high from our food sampling and the promise of more good food to come until Bear, my voice of reason, piped up with, "Do we have enough mason jars to can all this food with?"  Off to the local restaurant supply we went, where we  scouted for prepper essentials and ended up with 4 cases of mason jars, and a few miscellaneous odds and ends we needed for our preps.  Now that I see how many sweet potatoes are left, all the apples, and the collard greens (the remainder of which will be canned) I'm thinking maybe we could have gotten another case or two of jars...

In upcoming posts I'll be sharing how I can sweet potatoes (slightly different from other methods) and my caramel apple pie and bacon-bacon bourbon pecan pie recipes, providing we can get a picture of them before they disappear.  I hope you were able to spend your weekend enjoying all the delights of this season and finding some new things to be thankful for.  As for me, I'm thankful for my (always hectic, often stressful) job that allows me to support local businesses and farms, and for my family, who always appreciates the fruits of my evidenced by how fast food disappears around here.  
Till next time, y'all!  Oh - and if you happen to go to a farmers market in the near future, could you pick me up just a few pounds of apples?  I forgot to grab some for making applesauce.  Just 10 pounds or so ought to do it.    


  1. That is so awesome! I wasn't able to can this year, but I'm already plotting and planning for next year. Looking forward to the recipes!

    1. This was my first year canning and it's really addictive. It's such a good feeling knowing that fresh, in season foods have been added into the food storage.

      I'll be posting those recipes this week - the pecan pie impresses me primarily because I'm not usually a fan of pecan pie but this one is really good. The caramel apple, well - those are 2 of my favorite things!

      How are you feeling??? Is your recovery going well? Been thinking about ya. :)